Now that we know Justice Eva Guzman of Houston’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals will be joining the Texas Supreme Court, we can start to figure how this appointment might affect the pending docket.
By my count, there are eight cases at various stages of the Texas Supreme Court’s docket in which Justice Guzman wrote the court of appeals opinion under review, including a case that was argued last month, D.R. Horton-Texas v. Markel International Insurance Co., No. 06-1018.
New Justices recuse themselves from cases in which they wrote the underlying opinion (of course), from those in which they were on the panel below (of course), and sometimes from other cases handled by their previous court of appeals. (( Under Rule 16.2 of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, an appellate judge “must recuse” when a case “presents a material issue which the justice or judge participated in deciding while serving on another court in which the proceeding was pending.”
The exact details will emerge over time, but this likely includes cases on which Justice Guzman cast a vote on a motion for en banc consideration. Depending on the Fourteenth Court’s internal procedures, there may be other cases in which she would have had a significant enough role to now recuse herself. ))
The Fourteenth Court on which Justice Guzman sits is quite busy. A list of the cases on the Texas Supreme Court’s docket that originated from that court of appeals is available on this DocketDB page. (( Registered users of DocketDB can browse these details for each court of appeals, each court of appeals justice, and each Texas county. )) One of those pending cases is Robinson v. Crown Cork & Steel Co., No. 06-0714, about the constitutionality of certain limits on asbestos litigation.